Saturday, September 7, 2019

Pennsylvania Has Permanently Protected More Land In Chesapeake Bay Watershed Than Any Other Individual Bay State

On September 4, the Chesapeake Conservation Partnership released Marking Milestones: Progress in Conserving Land in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed Report showing Pennsylvania has permanently protected over 3.5 million acres in the Bay Watershed, more than any other single Bay state.
Virginia has protected nearly 3 million acres, Maryland almost 1.8 million, West Virginia over 400,000 acres, New York 327,000 acres, Delaware over 108,000 acres and in the District of Columbia about 10,000 acres.
The report is the most comprehensive survey of land conservation and funding in the Chesapeake watershed in a decade.
The 2025 goal is to permanently protect 2 million acres from the 2010 starting point.
Based on 2018 data, 1,358,456 acres of land in the Chesapeake Bay watershed have been permanently protected from development since 2010. 
This marks an achievement of nearly 68 percent of the land conservation goal adopted in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed Agreement and brings the total amount of protected land in the watershed to 9.16 million acres.
Watershed-wide, protected lands have increased 17 percent since 2010, an average of 169,800 acres each year. 
Some increases in acreage can be attributed to improvements in data collection—for instance, by reporting previously protected but newly digitized, corrected, or refined parcels of land. 
However, other increases can be attributed to newly protected parcels of land. Data indicate a consistent increased trend in protected lands in the watershed over time.
The 9.16 million acres of protected lands in the watershed account for just over 22 percent of the total land in the region. In contrast, about 13 percent of the watershed is developed in cities, towns, homes, roads, businesses, and industry. About 65 percent, or two-thirds, of the watershed consists of unprotected forests, farms, habitat, and rural landscapes.
Success Stories
The report showcases the tremendous value of the Chesapeake watershed and the remarkable success stories of people working to protect the land that supports our quality of life. 
Eighteen profiles provide examples, from new wildlife management areas, to newly protected farms and urban parks. 
One Pennsylvania success story profiles the Arentz Hay and Grain family farm operation outside of Littlestown, Pennsylvania, owned by Jean Arentz and her three sons, Jay, Craig, and Rodney, and their families. The operation consists of over 3,500 acres of prime farm soils, both owned and rented.
A second story describes how the Central Pennsylvania Conservancy acquired 34 acres of the east branch of Letort Spring Run, a coldwater limestone tributary to Conodoguinet Creek and a Pennsylvania designated scenic river.
There is also a profile of Pennsylvania’s South Mountain and Michaux State Forest and the new 1,000 acre Hellam Hills Nature Preserve in York County.
More Work To Do
The report also recognizes there is still much more to do as the Chesapeake Bay watershed—and the Earth itself—face challenges such as ecosystem decline, the resulting loss of plant and animal species and land conversion due to population growth.
“America’s great estuary, with all the benefits it provides, must be managed as a system,” said Thomas Lovejoy, known as the “Godfather of Biodiversity.” Lovejoy is a senior fellow at the United Nations Foundation and professor in the department of environmental science and policy at George Mason University. 
“The pioneering and farsighted Chesapeake Conservation Partnership report spotlights the remarkable achievement of protecting 22 percent of the land in the watershed,” said Lovejoy. “Yet that is not enough. Emerging scientific consensus recognizes the need to protect 30 percent of the watershed by 2030 and 50 percent by 2050 – setting a visionary example for the world on how to save the environment and humanity.”
“The six states within the Chesapeake Bay watershed have some of the leading land conservation programs in the nation. Collectively, these states invested more than $300 million in just one recent fiscal year. The federal government also plays an important role, though at a smaller scale. This report showcases the impact of these efforts and highlights the ongoing commitment of landowners to conserve their lands. But it also documents that landowner interest far exceeds available funding.” said Chesapeake Bay Commission Executive Director Ann P. Swanson. “We should address this head on by growing our state and federal financial resources and technical assistance. After all, conserving land is one of the most sure-fire ways we know of to ensure the health of our watershed.”
“Land conservation successes and challenges in the Chesapeake watershed present an international example of how communities can use innovative science, partnerships, and finance to achieve ambitious conservation goals,” said Joel Dunn, president and CEO of the Chesapeake Conservancy and a lead convener of the CCP. “The Marking Milestones report provides very convincing evidence that if we sustain and enhance current public funding and attract new private capital investments, then it will be possible for us to meet our 2025 goal of protecting two million acres and more ambitious goals in the future.”
“We choose to do this important land conservation work because we all depend on land for clean water, for habitat so that our wildlife can thrive, and for sustaining and enhancing our way of life. We choose to do this because we believe that current and future generations deserve the opportunity to enjoy a healthy Chesapeake and a livable planet. The Chesapeake Conservation Partnership has accepted this challenge and will continue to work together to create and expand protected areas, leverage science and take conservation actions around the watershed in concert with our community priorities,” continued Dunn.
For more information and background on Bay state land conservation efforts, visit the Chesapeake Conservation Partnership website.
(Photo: That would be Pennsylvania's Rachel Carson.)
Related Articles:
Op-Ed: Commit To Saving Chesapeake Bay - Fmr Gov. Dick Thornburgh 
Op-Ed: PA Efforts To Curb Chesapeake Bay Pollution Have Stalled, Leaving Bay At Risk - By Former EPA Administrators Gina McCarthy & William Reilly

No comments :

Post a Comment

Subscribe To Receive Updates:

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner